The Presidency has made it clear that “certain tough decisions” by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to implement long-delayed reforms leading to the withdraw of subsidies on fuel and others by allowing the market to determine their prices were not targeted at creating hardships for the common people.
The Presidency stressed that Buhari’s moves to implement development goals were not politics and that history will judge him in favourable terms “rather than his critics in the new media and the Opposition.”
A statement by the senior special assistant to the President on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said that even though the people’s as they voted the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Buhari 2015, against the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) incumbent Administration, Buhari’s administration had worked hard to meet many expectations.
“But still, there are certain tough decisions which had to be taken to put back the country on the path of sustainable development.
“To stop the mismanagement of taxpayer money, eliminate corruption associated with subsidies on petroleum products, power, fertilizer among others, the administration took the decision to implement long-delayed reforms, withdraw and allow the market to determine their prices.
“Subsidy removal in these sectors had long been foreseen by successive administrations as game changers in search of solutions to move forward with the nation’s development. These are reforms that are necessary and overdue. Blueprint upon blueprint, timeline upon timeline had come and gone but courage to take bold decisions was not there.
“Over the last few days, one claim acquiring a potent resonance with the online community, sections of the Labour movement and the opposition is that the actions are ill-timed and ill-advised.
“There is nothing new in the fact that the country is today fighting multiple challenges along with COVID-19, including low earnings, near-collapse of the oil market, floods, threats of terrorism and banditry but the challenges notwithstanding, a good government must take decisions for the people’s good.
“As President, Muhammadu Buhari takes these difficult decisions, both popular and unpopular and as a leader because he is demonstrating the right courage to take such decisions as they become necessary in view of present circumstances.
“History will be kind to President Buhari because in addition to his amazing ability to command votes, he will be remembered as the President who made real contributions to economic and overall national development by eliminating the evils of corruption embedded in subsidies.
“In any democracy, the most important certificate in governance is acceptance by the people and, with the support of ordinary Nigerians, President Buhari has shown a rare determination to carry out the bold initiatives as these ones driven by nothing other than the greatest good for the greatest number of people. In carrying out the reforms, the President needs the support and understanding of all citizens-inclusive of the opposition parties, the labour movement and civil society groups.
“In these challenging times, the President is pushing development goals not politics and history will judge him in favourable terms rather than his critics in the new media and the Opposition.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari is scheduled to depart Abuja tomorrow for Niamey, Niger Republic to participate in the Fifty-Seventh Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.
A statement from the presidency said that the one-day summit will deliberate on the Special Report on COVID-19 to be presented by President Buhari who was appointed the ECOWAS Champion on the Fight against COVID-19 during the Extraordinary Virtual Summit of ECOWAS on April 23, 2020.
It said that the Nigerian leader is expected to coordinate the sub-regional response against the pandemic.
“In furtherance of that objective, under the supervision of the Champion, Nigerian Ministers of Health, Aviation and Finance were appointed Chairpersons of the Ministerial Coordination Committees on Health; Transport, Logistics and Trade; and Finance respectively.
“The Summit will also receive a Special Report on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme to be presented by President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone and Chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), and President Alassane Ouattara, who is Chair of the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU/UEMOA).
“The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean Claude Kassi Brou will present to the West African leaders, the 2020 Interim Report on activities of the sub-regional body including ECOWAS Vision 2050.
“The alarming rise in incidents of terrorism, insurgency, armed banditry and piracy will also come under focus, while the disruption of the democratic process by the military in Mali, will receive further attention.
“Similarly, in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Niger where parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled for this year, the imperative to strengthen democracy in the sub-region by respecting constitutional provisions, rule of law and outcomes of free and fair polls, will be emphasised.
“President Buhari, who will be accompanied to the Summit by ministers and other top government officials, will return to Abuja after the meeting.”